12 Aug 2011


Potpourri, Ron Paul, Shameless Self-Promotion 27 Comments

* If you want socialized medicine, here’s the plan: First you pass a “weak” law that allows private insurance but imposes all sorts of rules on whom they need to enroll. Then, in order to keep them from going out of business, you require that every American buy health insurance. After that legislation is passed, have a court declare that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, but leave everything else in place.

* Jonathan Catalan has a good piece on 1937 that Tucker recently dug up from the vault. (Or at least, I assume Catalan wrote the article. It’s possible he paid someone to ghost write it.) On this point, I have an observation: Even on their own terms, the Keynesians who say the budget austerity of 1937 caused the US to fall back into Depression are admitting that their “medicine” doesn’t work even after four years of application. That is way longer than the typical free market recovery. This is what I mean about “believing is seeing.” What else would the data look like, to show that the New Deal actually prolonged the Depression?

* I don’t know if I’ve already discussed this, but I continue to be amazed at the casual way in which economists talk about the ECB buying half the Spanish and Italian debt. At what point are we going to say, “Yeah, that counts as monetizing the debt”?

* A relatively new podcast series featuring two young ladies from Auburn. The Australian guys they interview first are the ones who made that “bootleg” Mises U video, and then I give an unusual interview.

* There aren’t too many politicians who can discuss monetary policy and history like this.

* Noahpinion (that’s clever in and of itself) and I exchanged a few wise-acre emails after I mentioned him recently. Alas, he is an interventionist. He pointed me to this interesting post he did to try to show that Krugman was right and the free-marketeers were wrong.

* Tom Woods turns the tables on Lew Rockwell!

* I recycle Steve Landsburg’s game theoretic argument to question the efficacy of the SPR release.

27 Responses to “Potpourri”

  1. Jonathan M. F. Catalán says:

    I’m pretty sure you made an inside joke, but just in case anybody doesn’t get it: I write my own articles.

    • Beefcake the Mighty says:

      I wouldn’t admit to this if I were you.

    • Luís Marques says:

      Ah. I had read the shadow scholar article, but was still scratching my head on this post.

  2. MamMoTh says:

    Blimey, you need to improve your economic forecasting skills because the comments are/were blocked again!

  3. Beefcake the Mighty says:

    Speaking of Ron Paul, I assume you saw he lost the Iowa straw poll to Michelle Bachmann, a [woman] so stupid that even left liberals feel no compunction in slandering a female. Looks like Rockwell and Tucker’s hard work in making the Mises Institute PC-compatible is really gonna pay off big. Are you still signed up on this ship, Bob?

    • jjoxman says:

      Came in 2nd by a razor-thin margin. In 2007 he came in a distant 5th. Bachmann is from Iowa, so that explains the margin.

      Tell me, who do left liberals not feel comfortable slandering? It seems ad hominem attacks are the m.o. of the left.

      • Beefcake the Mighty says:

        Far point re. the left, but somehow I can’t see, say, Thatcher receiving these kinds of venomous attacks. The vapidness of people like Bachmann and Palin make them very easy targets.

        My point is not that Paul can’t recover from this, it’s that after 2007 he should be doing much better. Rockwell et al. have tempered their message precisely to be able to ally with permissible political movements (Paul is indeed admirably radical in many ways, but he also stays away from the hottest of the hot button topics), and that’s a losing strategy.

        • Beefcake the Mighty says:

          “Far point” should be “Fair point”

        • jjoxman says:

          As an anarchist, Michelle Bachmann sets my hair on fire because of her religious views. She may not be the warfare type, but otherwise she’s pretty typical for a conservative.

          So, in your second paragraph, are you suggesting that libertarians should have learned their lesson from previous alignments with the right and the left? If so, I’d agree with that.

          Specifically which topics does Paul stay away from? It seems to be he’s introduced some topics that other candidates need to catch up on. He wants to end wars, and the Fed. Not that I agree with his monetary economics, but central banking shouldn’t be sacrosanct.

          • Beefcake the Mighty says:

            I am really not sure what religious views have to do with anarchy; unless you associate anarchism with a-religiosity, then this statement is really say more about you than Bachmann.

            I am an anarcho-capitalist, but I don’t reject alliances with intelligent and honests rightists or leftists. What I reject is allowing the prevailing regime to set the terms of the debate, which is precisely the constraints Rockwell et al allow themselves to follow. Rothbard never would have made this mistake.

            • jjoxman says:

              What I’m getting at is that I think Bachmann’s religious views trump her views on liberty, such that she might take a positive view on controlling social behavior.

              For full disclosure, I’m Catholic anarcho-capitalist, so I certainly don’t think anarchy and religion are antithetical.

              I agree with your second paragraph. I suppose I haven’t been following Rockwell long enough to notice any change.

            • Dan says:

              What exactly are the topics Lew Rockwell is staying away from because the mainstream has supposedly set the terms of debate that he must follow? I’ve never heard him or Ron Paul dodge anything. I mean the things Ron Paul was saying on stage during the latest debate are third rail issues for every other politician but he doesn’t care and just speaks the truth anyways.

              I also see the Iowa straw poll a resounding success. 4th highest vote total ever and nearly quadrupling the vote total from 2007. I also believe that first place was likely stolen from him. I feel he is in a great position to continue expanding the ranks as the economy continues to dive. As prices continue to rise it will just be more proof Ron Paul is right and more and more people know this to be true.

              I think Ron Paul just needs to keep doing what he’s doing and we need to take the campaign to another level through Revolution PAC.

  4. Bob Roddis says:

    In addition to the Tom Woods interview of Lew Rockwell, I would highly recommend the podcast with John V. Denson who recommends five antiwar books for your summer reading including one on the apparent assassination of Pat Tillman.


  5. Lord Keynes says:

    “Even on their own terms, the Keynesians who say the budget austerity of 1937 caused the US to fall back into Depression are admitting that their “medicine” doesn’t work even after four years of application.”

    A bizarre non-sequitur.

    The recovery that began in 1933 continued with positive and high rates of GDP growth and falling unemployment to 1937.

    1934 – GNP grows 7.7%
    1935 – GNP grows 8.1%
    1936 – GNP grows 14.1%

    Once we correct for the bias of Lebergott’s figures on unemployment, employment under Roosevelt came down from 25% to just under 10% by 1937:


    When Roosevelt cut federal spending and implemented a contraction monetary policy, this plunged the economy back into recession.

    Even Roger Garrison admits the contractionary role of monetary policy is 1937:

    “Deflation caused by a severe monetary contraction is another matter. Strong downward pressures on prices in general put undue burdens on market mechanisms. Unless, implausibly, all prices and wages adjust instantaneously to the lower money supply, output levels will fall. Monetary contraction could be the root cause of a downturn – as, for instance, it seems to have been in the 1936–7 episode in the USA. The Federal Reserve, failing to understand the significance of the excess reserves held by commercial banks, dramatically increased reserve requirements, causing the money supply to plummet as banks rebuilt their cushion of free reserves.”

    R. W. Garrison, “The Austrian School,” in B. Snowdon and H. R. Vane (eds), Modern Macroeconomics: Its Origins, Development and Current State, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham. 2005. p. 515:

    • Richard Moss says:


      You wrote “When Roosevelt cut federal spending and implemented a contraction monetary policy, this plunged the economy back into recession.”

      Jonathan discusses these two claims in his article directly, and argues why they do not explain the 37-38 recession.

      I don’t know if you read his article, but your post doesn’t address any of the points he made there.

    • Bob Roddis says:

      Only a pathetic, phony unsustainable economy goes back into recession in its EIGHTH YEAR.

      More proof that “stimulus” cannot bring long-term prosperity.

      • MamMoTh says:

        Viagra is not working Roddis?

  6. get_a_pickle says:

    Bob, have you seen this video from Roubini?
    I’d love to hear your thoughts, especially on his “Marx was right” stuff. :/
    “Karl Marx had it right. At some point, Capitalism can destroy itself. You cannot keep on shifting income from labor to Capital without having an excess capacity and a lack of aggregate demand. That’s what has happened. We thought that markets worked. They’re not working. The individual can be rational. The firm, to survive and thrive, can push labor costs more and more down, but labor costs are someone else’s income and consumption. That’s why it’s a self-destructive process.”

    • MamMoTh says:

      I don’t know about Marx, but Roubini is definitely right.

      • Major_Freedom says:

        Roubini is definitely wrong.

        His mish-mash understanding of how markets work is contradicted by economic science.

        Capitalism does not “shift income from labor to capital.” In capitalism, income, and thus capital, “shifts” to those who are best at providing the consumers with production.

        Furthermore, income doesn’t automatically shift to capitalists in capitalism. Individuals have to work and produce in order to attract income.

        Roubini is not making statements about capitalism, he is making statements about the hampered system we have today. The government is printing and inflating money like never before, which tends to increase revenues and hence profits before wage incomes, and he is claiming that capitalism and the market is failing.

        The market isn’t failing. Government is failing. The free market is unable to stop government from running over the market, if the free market does not exist.

        In capitalism, real wages go up and up and up, not down and down and down. Firms do NOT have arbitrary power to reduce wages. Wages are formed by supply and demand.

        There is so much wrong with what Roubini said that it’s not surprising at all that you would agree with him.

        • MamMoTh says:

          Roubini is right. He is describing real life capitalism, not the fairy tale version of it that only exists in books available at mises.

          • Major_Freedom says:

            Roubini is wrong. He is not describing real life capitalism, he is referring to real life crony capitalism, or corporatism, not the fairy tale version of it that you wished existed so as to justify your anti-capitalism.

            • MamMoTh says:

              That’is real life capitalism, the only version of capitalism that will ever exist. Roubini is right once again.

    • Bob Roddis says:

      We don’t have “capitalism” in the sense of a free market with strictly enforced property and contract rights. The infusion of funny money and the lack of property and contract rights is our current problem which have nothing to do with a free market. Thus, the quote is purposefully (or stupidly) deceptive, just like everything Keynesian or MMT.

      BTW, I profess my love of the MMTers here:


      I sincerely believe that the MMTers are extremely helpful for explaining the “operational reality” of our monetary system to average people.

  7. Tel says:

    While on the subjects of Ron Paul and self promotion… it occurs to me that the London riots represent a fairly direct test of the “Broken Window” scenario. We have an economy in recession, lots of people out of work, now we have plenty of broken windows which will boost aggregate demand not only in new windows but more police, more lawyers, insurance claims, and plenty of government administrators to keep an eye one everything.

    By Keynesian theory, a few more riots should bring the economy back to boom quite smartly.

  8. Bob Roddis says:

    Don’t miss Kroogie calling for mass spending on imaginary space aliens:


    This is classic. Show this to all your non-political friends [females?] to convince them that the elites really really do think like this. Really. Crap like this makes us all poorer and cuts down on runs to the mall for new dresses. Seriously.